When ticket holders enter the gates at BankPlus Amphitheater at Snowden Grove in Southaven today they should get ready for a whole new guest experience.

The venue will host a grand reopening with a concert featuring Better Than Ezra, Ingram Hill, and Sister Hazel. It will be the first time the amphitheater has hosted a show since September 2019. Since then, the outdoor concert venue has undergone a major $10 million upgrade which has added more permanent seating, additional luxury boxes, new concession areas, and more restrooms.

“It has been painful when you have to go without concerts for a while and you have to sit out a couple of years and spend some time reinvesting and getting construction done,” said Mayor Darren Musselwhite. “We made some sacrifices, but it is going to be well worth it.”

Executive Director Todd Mastry said the improvements to the facility are like night and day. The biggest difference is the seating. They removed the lawn area which used to be at the back and added more permanent seating to increase capacity to 9,800. People can still hang out in the back on a smaller lawn area which has been replaced with artificial turf.

“A lawn could get muddy and trashy,” Mastry said. “Now you can’t. And with the new seating, we are able to be more viable and draw in those bigger acts.”

Mastry said they have also introduced three different levels of premium seating. Lower level premium ticket holders have their own entrance gate, their own restrooms, lounge, courtyard, and a new indoor concession area. 

“Before, everybody had to go back down and out to get concessions,” Mastry said. “Now they have their own concession area.”

And depending on the acts, the pit area in front of the stage can hold up to 850 people or the option to have a seated pit area.

Customers in the second level of premium seats have a drink rail that separates them from the section in front and their own drink and beverage service brought right to their seats. There are also 20 corporate boxes which are sold-out, a first in the amphitheater’s history. 

The third level of premium seats features a patio area at the back of the amphitheater with 10 four top tables which have their own bartender. 

“Each level gets a little something different,” Mastry said. “It was all about offering a total guest experience. We have really tried to enhance the experience.”

Getting in and out of shows will also be more convenient. The facility originally had only one main entrance off Snowden Lane. Now, concertgoers can enter through that entrance or one off of Getwell Road.

“Now you will be able to do some shopping at Silo Square, leave your car at the hotel, and walk across the pedestrian bridge to the show,” Mastry said.

Mastry said another major improvement is the addition of permanent merchandise areas and concessions. In the past, the plaza area had tents set up selling merchandise and various food concessions. 

“You walked in and it was tent city - a bunch of random vendors and not any real consistency from show-to-show,” Mastry said. “Now we have created a main merch stand. So now when you walk in, you know where the merch is going to be. And then on the other side, we put a commissary in which your main concession has 22 points of sale.”

Mastry said the plaza area will now be much more open and will flow easier.

“This used to be a hugely congested area because that was the main entry area and it was compounded because you had all these random tents,” Mastry said. “Now we have separated everything and have a good distance between them and a huge plate in between.”

The facility also has double the number of restrooms, secondary merch areas, and more “grab and go” concession areas throughout the venue.

“We have the ability to get 70 points of sale,” Mastry said. “That’s huge. You have an opportunity now to where if you need to use the restroom or get something to eat or drink, there is so much more space and opportunity to do that.”

Mastry said another new feature allows them to cut seating down to 4,000 in order to host smaller concerts by installing an attachable windscreen at the back of the last row of the lower premium seating.

“Taylor Swift is not coming here,” Mastry said. “And artists don’t want to play to a bunch of empty seats. So we now have created a “boutique” amphitheater to where it is a much more accessible venue for all types of artists. You can now play here outdoors with 4,000 seats or 10,000 seats. I believe we are only the second or third venue in the country to have this.”

Mastry said he believes fans will notice a big difference and that the improvements will make BankPlus Amphitheater a destination again for top acts well into the future.

“I’m jazzed to see us back open,” Mastry said. “This has put us back on the concert routing. Now they are not waving as they go by to do a show outside anymore. And now we have a stop not only for a big show, but also for a small show.”

Mastry said he is expecting a big year. The venue already has 10 events booked this year - more than it has ever had in its history - and he expects to announce a few more.

 “We told every premium seat holder that would have a minimum of 10 shows for the boxes,” Mastry said. “We  are already at ten and I have four to six more who we are talking to and we will see what lands. I would love to say that we are going to land 12 or 13.”


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